I'd love to hear from both the artist side and the collector side---I've been experimenting with a few different looks lately, and it got me thinking..
I love the look of a well-embroidered nose, and I would say that the majority of my collection has those, but the ones that steal my heart have polymer clay noses---and I think polymer clay noses are so much easier to put onto a bear than an embroidered nose.
What does everyone like---for the construction of their bears AND for their own private collections?
Amelia: I have done both. Meaning embroidering and with clay. So here is my experience with doing a clay nose:
Varnishing the nose was-- shall we say—a comedy. It went like this—putting the varnish on with a paint brush, holding the nose and blowing on it to dry, only to find my two fingers stuck to the nose. curses ensued.Tried to gently yank the nose from my fingers, only to find the other two fingers stuck to the nose. more colorful curses. Next, tried to separate the nose from the other hand with the tip of the paint brush. Now, I have finger prints imbedded in the varnish and a big imprint from the tip of the paint brush squarely at the base of the nose. curses only a truck driver would appreciate!
So, my point is....I embroider my nose!!
As a bear maker, I like both and have done both kinds of noses... but my worry with my own polymer clay noses was always that they would either break, or fall off. Back when I did them I double-secured them using both a loop on the back to stitch them in place AND glue, but I just couldn't shake feeling like they were somehow less "stable" than stitched noses in a very long-term kind of way. That fear of breakage, by the way, is my own paranoia; please don't interpret that as me saying that clay noses or other "breakable" noses are inferior. That's not my point and I don't think that! I just felt more comfortable learning to stitch a nice nose (which was a learning process, believe me) vs. continuing on with a clay type nose for my own work.
As a collector, I'm drawn to the look of a bear and to whether (or not) it strikes a chord with me. I don't think the medium used for the nose is a particular concern of mine one way or the other although, to date, I don't have any clay nose bears. I think that's probably a coincidence, though, and that if a bear spoke to me loudly enough -- and, of course, if I had the cash on hand to bring it home at that time! -- I'd love it just the same whether it had a clay or a floss nose.
Interesting question, Amelia! I'll enjoy reading how people respond.
Amelia, I like all three and which nose I use just depends on the style of bear I am making. For my more realistic bears I prefer a leather or Apoxie Sculpt (TM) clay nose. I am steering clear of polymer anything anymore as it can break far too easily. If you want a rock hard unbreakable clay-like nose then an epoxie based clay is great for noses and claws.
This bear has an exopie sculpt nose.
For cuddly teddy bears I like a stitched nose but I have also been making German mohair noses and these are turning out to be my favorite nose for a cuddly bear. I use the shortest stright German mohair. It is stuffed while being sewn on. It makes for a very nice fuzzy and sturdy dimensional nose.
Here's Ryan with a mohair nose.
Michelle that is funny :crackup: :crackup: . I like both kind depending on which kind of bear. For traditional type bears I like a stitched nose but for more contemporary type of bears I don't mind a clay nose. I do agree with you Amelia that clay ones do seem to be easier to put on and it is tempting sometimes but I think the bear usually tells you what type of nose he or she is going to suit best.
As a novice bear-maker with years of fashion-sewing experience, I prefer the look of three-flap leather noses over the satin-stich embroidered ones, although I have yet to try one. With several friends who have children on the way, my goal is to make child-safe, extremely cuddly bears, and the clay noses worry me in that regard.
We do both kinds of noses, sometimes a bear just calls for one kind or another and it's all based on the bear your working with. We have used polymer in the past and I like Shelli was concerned about it breaking at some point, I also found that they would scratch very easily
Judi we bought a larg quantity of the Apoxie Sculpt and I have not yet played around with it, but I saw it and it was such a phenominal deal I had to buy it. It is suppose to be virtually unbreakable and is sandable and drillable , I will still continue to use a loop in the back and a bit of glue to afix it to the bear (I always become concerned as well that the nose will fall off ). I'm looking forward to really playing around with the Apoxie as there is soo much that you can do with it.
For the emobroidery noses, they are nice on certain bears , but they are so hard on the hands and fingers and I fear more damage being done to our hands in a very short term, whereas the clay noses are easier on the hands to sclupt and less frustrating at times to work with.
I decided to chime in because nobody has mentioned needle felted noses. I have never really been happy with my embroidered noses, especially on my dogs. I really like the look I get with a needle felted nose. It usually doesn't take long to do them, even felted very firm.
I am both an artist and a collector. What I am doing now is doing an embroidered nose. However, I will "finish" the nose. Depending upon the colors I use (and I LOVE colorful colors), I'll add little highlights of different colors on the stitched nose. Then I will lightly coat the nose with some wonderful stuff called "Modge Podge" which I got at a crafts store. Modge Podge is white in color when you spread it on the nose, but don't worry, it dries perfectly clear and puts a little gloss on the nose. If you want a truly glossy nose, you can put on several layers of Modge Podge.
Here is an example. I used dark teal embroidery thread and then one coat of Modge Podge.
I've had some bad experiences with Mod Podge: it tended to absorb a bit of moisture when the weather turned humid and exhibited a slightly milky look.
It didn't matter if it was a single layer or multiple ones applied after each has thoroughly dried.
It obsured the nose stitches that were underneath.
I love it when old posts are revived!
I'm with Judi & Steve - Apoxie Sculpt® is the BEST!! And putting a loop through the back will make it absolutely unremovable; this stuff is almost indestructible when cured, yet still able to sand it/saw it/paint it/sculpt it/etc...
Nancy & Tami's needled wool noses are also one of the methods I use; you definitely can use a surface treatment like Mod Podge® in matte or gloss over the Apoxie Sculpt® and the wool to seal them both and to change their appearances.
But I'm chiming in now after re-reading Steve's post, after almost 4 years because of a current situation:
For the emobroidery noses, they are nice on certain bears , but they are so hard on the hands and fingers and I fear more damage being done to our hands in a very short term
because 2 months ago I began wearing a small, really lightweight, custom-formed plastic brace on my right hand to hold my thumb in place. I ruined the first joint with the dozen years of hand-sewing minis and am waiting until next winter for a joint replacement.
The surgeon said this is quite a common joint for arthritic changes in their dominant hand, especially in women over the age of 50 - 60. Hobbyists who use it constantly and consistently are more likely than ever to impact this in further and more complex deterioration.
I don't know what caution to tell others who hand-sew theirs, to avoid the pain that I now have and the rehab (hopefully successful!) that I'll be going through, other than 'protect your hands in every way that you can.' I cannot pick up a glass one-handed any more, or open some doors as easily or most jars.. not fun!
Not that I'm complaining, because I had a heck of a lot of fun while I was sewing and it's mainly why I switched to Needle Felting or quit altogether, and the sewn minis took me to so many new 'faces & places' - I would just do things a little differently now in hindsight!
Wubbie I think a clay nose would be great for someone with no sight. You are working with clay and you can feel the shape and you can set it on the bear face and feel how it feels on the bear. As for varnishing the nose I have a loop in the back of my nose and once it has been baked I run my artificial sinew through the loop. I then wrap this around one of the knobs on my kitchen cupboard door. I can then paint the varnish on and just let the nose air dry . You can also buy a spray matte or gloss varnish just a couple of light coats with that will also protect the nose.
Andrea I think your noses are pretty amazing lol! But I can see what you mean Paula's noses are just WOW
As an artist I chose a nose medium based on the bear I'm making. I'm doing quite a few realistic bears and animals at the moment and polymer clay or epoxy works the best for me, however on my "bear bears" I use embroidered noses and I have to say these are one of my favourite parts of bear making along with shading. I just love embroidering noses and shading faces on bears, I find it relaxing and it tends to take me less brain-power to create them lol. This is a nose I created on a bear called "Logie." It is embroidered and shined. And please congratulate me this is my first successful photo upload on TT! :D:D